The start of 2018 marked a new stage of growth for me. As a graduating senior, I reflected a lot on my time at the University of Texas at Austin, which led me to ask questions like, “What am I going to do after graduation?” and “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” but most importantly, “Why am I doing it?” I think people often forget to ask themselves this question, but I believe that knowing the answer, and following through with it is what brings purpose to life.

Thinking on these questions made me realize that the answer has always been in front of me. It became very clear that my studies at UT Austin and my extra curricular projects all revolve around one simple answer to that Why? – to connect people.

When my final semester started in January, I had a lot of time on my hands (outside of my two classes and 16-hour internship), but I was missing a personal sense of direction and purpose. I transitioned from a large amount of freedom while studying abroad– hanging out with my friends every day, traveling most weekends – to a large amount of free time.

Just when I started to feel directionless, things fell into place.

Something clicked when I read “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. Suddenly I saw that I could take control of my life, instead of feeling like life is something that happens to me. I invested time in similar podcasts and books, triggering a realization that solidified the Why in my mind.

Why do I love music? I feel a connection to artists and fans through the sonic medium. Why do I find joy in event planning? I can create unique experiences that bring people together. Why do I want to be a storyteller? So that others can connect to shared values, emotions and experiences.

I found that as long as I was connecting people, I was happy working on a variety of different projects in many different fields, which means that pursuing my Why is an ever-evolving endeavor. Sometimes I take photos of an artist to capture a magnetic energy to share with fans around the world. Sometimes I conduct research to understand how a brand should talk to its consumers. Sometimes I coordinate a music showcase during SXSW to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Through all of this I am connecting people. I, personally, connect with people, and I connect others with each other.

I choose to follow the path of my Why as it unfolds in front of me. I do not know what tomorrow holds, but what I am doing right now – writing this blog, sharing photos, meeting new people – is connecting. In some small way this is empowering to me and hopefully others.

The means to reaching my Why is this. It’s to appreciate every moment and to be open to new things. To connect with others. And to empower them to follow their Why.

Everything I do is rooted in connection. Obstacles may surface and try to keep me from  reaching my goals, but I will be resilient in my pursuit. Like a tree, I will grow towards the sun, because my roots are spread far and wide in my Why.

Photo by Mason Endres